Running Nutrition: Sport Beans

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Happy National Jelly Bean Day, runners. And in keeping with the spirit of the day, let’s take a closer look at the jelly bean’s more active cousin; Sport Beans by Jelly Belly. Yes, you can get all the yum of a jelly bean in a package that is completely appropriate for fueling your run.

You’ve probably heard about those jelly beans that people eat on the run, and maybe you just assumed they got them off the discount candy rack at their local grocery store, or maybe raided a small child’s Easter basket. There’s more to these beans than just the fact that they resemble the culprit of your springtime sugar rush.

Different from Jelly Beans

So how exactly are the ingredients in Sport Beans different from traditional jelly beans?, you might ask. The difference might seem little, but it’s all about how it’s sweetened. Traditional jelly beans use sugar, corn syrup, and modified food starch (vegetable starch, usually). Sport Beans use a healthier alternative to these sweeteners, like evaporated cane juice and tapioca. Like most gels, Sport Beans also include electrolytes like potassium and sodium, helping to replace what you lose as you sweat. For reference, one pack of Sport Beans is an equivalent amount of fuel to one pack of most gels.

Fast energy

When comparing Sport Beans to gels, you’ll find them to be much more sugary… we’re talking more than double the grams of sugar. This makes Sport Beans a higher Glycemic Index food. Foods with a higher GI are a good option to eat while you run because they get into your blood system quickly. Your muscles burn glucose (sugar) as fuel and need it ASAP. So when you feel like you’re bonking or crashing, Sport Beans will deliver the quick energy you need. Sport Beans provide simple carbohydrates (derived from glucose, fructose, or a combo of both) with a high GI, and those carbs are easy to break down and use for energy when you need it, stat. The other side to this is the possibility of a sugar high followed by a sugar crash, but this depends on the individual consumer.

There are also Extreme Sport Beans which have the same ingredients as regular Sport Beans, but with the addition of 50mg of caffeine (equal to about half a cup of coffee) per serving, which can be beneficial for sustaining endurance performance.


Sports beans are made by Jelly Belly, need we say more?! These things taste like that familiar candy we all know and love, and that’s one of the major draws. With a variety of flavors, there’s something for every runner with a sweet tooth.

Resealable bag

Sport Beans are especially great for instances when, for example, you might require the nutrition that would be equivalent to 1/3 of a gel. Where consuming part of a gel might be messy because you have to stow the remaining gel in your pocket, Sport Beans provide a resealable bag that closes nicely when saved for later. Only eat as much as you need, save the rest for your next run.

To chew, or not…

…is up to you. One positive attribute to these Sport Beans is that some runners just like to take one or two beans at a time and let them dissolve in their mouth during the run. It’s easier to do that with a bean than a chew, for example, which doesn’t dissolve as easily.

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